Idaho Republican Party Trial Over Closed Primary Ends

The trial in Idaho Republican Party v Ysursa has now ended.  This is the case in which the Republican Party is fighting to obtain a closed primary for itself.  A last round of briefs will be filed in the next few weeks.  The decision, when it comes down, will be a landmark.  This is the first case in which either major party has submitted empirical evidence that it needs to close its primary because persons not in sympathy with the party have been voting in its primaries.  The Democratic Party of Mississippi, and the Republican Party of Virginia, had earlier filed lawsuits to obtain closed primaries for themselves, but no equivalent evidence was presented in either of those cases.

The Mississippi Democratic Party case had lost on a legal technicality, and the Virginia Republican Party had ended with a compromise, in which the party has a right to demand a closed primary for itself only when it is being forced to hold a primary for that particular office.

For more details about the Idaho trial, see blogger Dennis Mansfield’s blog here.  Scroll down; not everything on the blog relates to the court case.


Idaho Republican Party Trial Over Closed Primary Ends — 15 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Republican Party After the Election – Huffington Post (blog) | Conservatives for America

  2. PUBLIC nominations for PUBLIC offices is PUBLIC business — totally subject to PUBLIC laws — regardless of all MORON judges at all levels.

    See the WA top 2 primary case in SCOTUS.

  3. Darryl,
    You bring up a VERY good point.

    If these are IN FACT party elections or caucuses, why is the taxpayer in my home state of Idaho (and yours?) paying for them? If Independents cannot vote in them (as is a partial focus of the Idaho case) why then should those citizens pay for the costs of those party elections?

    Also, since a Party is a corporation and certain new rights have recently been accorded to corporations by the US Supreme Court, how can a Party expect to nominate from among its members, candidates, and expect the taxpayer to foot the bill?

    Demo Rep, just saying that MORON judges decided this or that, is a bit ad hominem. Given your logic, the national party conventions should be paid for at federal tax expense, shouldn’t they?

    Just asking questions….

  4. “The Mississippi Democratic Party case had lost on a legal technicality…”

    The technicality was that the Democrats had not adopted a party rule for a closed primary. The US district court had declared the state-mandated open primary unconstitutional, but the 5th circuit reversed the district court.

    The South Carolina Republicans have filed a similar suit in US district court, but, like the Mississippi Democrats, they have not adopted a rule for a closed primary.

    #1 and #5: In 1995, the 8th circuit said that, when the state mandates that parties hold primaries, the parties cannot be required to pay for those primaries (Republican Party of Arkansas v. Faulkner County).

    The state could leave the parties to their own devices, in which case they would be very unlikely to hold primaries, due to the expense. Then the voters (in most states) would raise hell. Thus states will continue to mandate and pay for party primaries.

    In 1986, the US Supreme Court empowered parties to invite independents to vote in their primaries (Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut).

    It’s my understanding that the FEC indeed does pay for the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

  5. Idaho should permit each party to provide a list of eligible voters (or a list of ineligible voters). Election officials could then simply disable the voter from picking a party (on the pick-a-party ballot). In addition, all candidates would appear in a non-affiliated section of the ballot, which a voter could also choose.

    Candidates who received the most votes in the non-affiliated section would be nominated, along with those who received a reasonable share of the total vote (10%?). Such candidates would appear on the general election ballot without a party label, unless they were also nominated by a party.

    So the pick-a-party primary would continue to be used, preserving the right of all to vote, including non-affiliated voters; while protecting the right of political parties to restrict participation in their nominating activities.

    Idaho should also ensure that the party electorate is in control of constitutional matters. Any rules should be proposed by the state party convention, and ratified by the party electorate in the primary.

  6. #6 “The state could leave the parties to their own devices, in which case they would be very unlikely to hold primaries, due to the expense.”

    I prefer that to read “The state should leave the parties to their own devices, in which case they would hold party conventions to choose their nominees.”

  7. #9: Here in my state, if the parties nominated by a method other than the primary, a lot of voters would be really upset.

    In many of the counties in my state, the races for county offices are decided in one party’s primary. Thus, if the parties nominated by convention, grassroots voters would have no direct say-so in electing their county officials.

    In Virginia, the parties have several nominating options other than the primary– except that incumbents get to choose the method by which they run for renomination.

    The Yankees just took the lead over the Rangers!!

  8. #10 – Your “arguments” are similar to the ideas that led me to believe that non-partisan elections are the way to go…now to decide between IRV or approval voting.

  9. #11: I’m in favor of nonpartisan local (county and municipal) elections.

    My state elects its state and county officials at the same time– next in 2011. We have a two-party system at the state level, but many of the counties decide their local elections in one party’s primary. Hence, on primary day, many voters are forced to choose between voting for their county officials or voting for their favorite candidates for state offices. Thus nonpartisan county elections would eliminate this problem.

    My state has the initiative process, so stay tuned…

    The Rangers led the Yankees, 5-0.

    Final score: Yankees 6, Rangers 5.

  10. “I’m in favor of ALL elections being non-partisan”

    Good idea for local and judicial elections… terrible idea for state and federal elections, in my view.

  11. No such thing as nonpartisan in legislative bodies – regardless of the utopian MORONS in the early 1900s.

    See Federalist No. 10 — 1787.

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